Penang’s commitment to safeguard its forests

Penang’s commitment to safeguard its forests

Published on  |  Modified on

LETTER | The recent news of continued logging in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve, Kedah has troubled nearby residents and the rest of Malaysia.

Small logging concessions and illegal logging activities hidden from public eyes have punctured the heart of the pristine forest and affected both water source and water quality. Such activities have also snatched away homes and feeding grounds for elephants, hornbills, leopards and other protected wildlife species.

The rampant logging activity upstream of Sungai Muda consequently affects the livelihood of over four million people from three states: Kedah, Perlis, and Penang.

To be more specific, 80 percent of Penang water supply comes from Sungai Muda, 96 percent for Kedah, and 50 percent for Perlis.

Even though the Kedah Forestry Department issued a claim that there is no environmental impact from the logging activities, and water quality is not affected, this short-sighted and dubious claim fails to look at the long-term water supply issue.

These impacts of logging on human lives mean only one thing: gazette the forest reserve as water catchment area or risk our livelihood. All logging activities need to stop immediately. Delayed action will only cause more cascading effects.

The tragic fate of forests in Malaysia continues to be aggravated after the degazettement of 4,515 ha forest reserve in Terengganu earlier in January. The state government granted the land to TDM Berhad, which plans to turn the area into oil palm plantation. This move angered most environmentalists.

Read more: